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Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 6 and 7 (Catriona Hare)

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 6 and 7 (Catriona Hare)

Day 6 Camas na Croise to the island that shall not be named (about 22km)

We set off about 9:30, after breakfast which came with one of our few midge experiences of the trip, although still far less than I could ever have dreamed of. Andy was developing a new habit of being on the water before the rest of us and looking disapprovingly at tardiness. He needs to practice his disapproving look for it to be effective.

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Like the rest of the week, we set off in glorious sunshine and flat calm conditions, I am still not convinced we were in Scotland.

The day before we had decided not to cross over to Mull due to fog in the shipping lane, looking back towards Mull this morning it looked like it was foggy again and the risk averse decision for a change of plan the day before seemed more justified than ever.

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We headed up the western shore of Loch Linnhe which gave us some very different scenery to the rest of the trip, with the larger mountains of the mainland running into the loch.

Before long it was time to stop for food and a philosophical debate on the timing and meaning of the words breakfast and lunch. Elevenses, brunch and possibly “linner” were considered superfluous. Anyway, it was our first relaxing meal stop in the sun of the day.

We carried on up the coast getting some really good views of a golden and a white-tailed eagle and lots of wild goats. Roger was excellent a spotting wildlife. We stopped at Port a Ghearrain, our most northern point on Loch Linnhe, for our meal of choice and more relaxing in the sun. Although it was beginning to get silly, I could feel myself burning despite the daft hat and lots of suntan lotion.

Finally, we decided it was time to move and cross back over to the other side of Loch Linnhe. Like most of the afternoons the wind had got up and the sea had become a bit rougher, although it must have been calmer than the day before as I only got one wet armpit. I was day dreaming about a new sea state scale based on number and wetness of upper body parts, however there were too many variables, like being a splashy paddler or too heavy for your boat. (I think Ian was talking about my kit not me!!)

We crossed over uneventfully to the headland of Rubha Mor to start looking for a campsite for the night. Ali thoroughly inspected all possible sites in the bays just around the headland. We were getting fussy now, and Ali said it was Ok but not up to the standard of the rest of the trip. As it was still quite early, we paddled across to the nearby small island that shall not be named. As we approached, we could see strange structures coming into view. It finally became clear that they were building materials and the small island was inhabited. Some of us waited for the owners to come back so we could check if there were any issues with us camping and the rest paddled round the island. The most respectable members of the trip, well Ian and Andy, spoke to the owners of the island and they were happy for us to camp as long as we were at the opposite side of the island to the house, and didn’t advertise the camping opportunities.

Another lovely campsite with no midges and views across to Ben Nevis. We had a lovely night finishing the remaining random assortment of alcohol, enjoying the company, and in Sheena’s case knitting.

Day 7 a short trip back to Port Appin and end of a lovely trip.

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We were on the water by 8:30 to make sure we made the most of the tide down the side of Shuna and missed the forecast lunch time rain. We had a relatively relaxed paddle in the grey hazy light, showing us yet another view of Scotland at its best.

We landed in Port Appin where Sheena treated us with tea and scones at the pub. It felt strange being careful about social distancing again (and cups and saucers) now we were back in civilisation.

Ian then dropped the car drivers off at their various starting locations and some people headed back down south hastily for some football match. I thought my blue car and yellow boat made a passable Ukrainian flag.

This was a somewhat unusual trip to plan due to last minute unavoidable changes in circumstances. When it is your kayaking lead who can’t make the start of the trip you make sure they can join you later in the week!! This became a peer paddle at relatively short notice, and I am grateful to everyone for being understanding about the route choices, and to Roger and Andy for helping with the trip planning in the campsite on Saturday night and in particular for Andy noticing that we needed to get up at 4:30 on the Monday morning. By then I was happily thinking about dinner and sleep.

Thanks, Andy, Ali, Sheena, Roger and Ian for making it a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 5 Thursday 01/07/2021 by Ian Bell

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 5 Thursday 01/07/2021 by Ian Bell

Lismore east coast and crossing to Camas na Croise (About 24Km) by Ian Bell

Having spent the night at the south end of Lismore, we had plans and aspirations of crossing over to Mull for a night before starting to wind our way back to Oban.

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However the fog had rolled in and following some debate as to how long we could delay departure and still take advantages of slack water to cross passed Lady’s Rock we decided on a cut off time or we would revert to plan B,C,D,E whatever. As the time approached, we saw the fog lift only to descend again. There was some doubt in group as to the whether we should chance it and play Russian roulette with the Cal Mac ferries so we decided we would leave Mull for another time and paddle up the east side of Lismore and spend the rest of the trip exploring up into Loch Linnhe.

Of course, as we set off, the fog lifted again and soon we were commenting on the heat of the morning sun. However, we were now committed to paddling north. As we paddled, we commented that this part of island was less inhabited than we expected and identified several other possible camp sites. It was also noted that at some point some of the group would need to find and top up water supplies. This noted I suggested as the ground was dry, we would be best calling in at the ferry terminal as it was the most likely option for a tap. On the way Andy suggested exploring Eilean nan Gamhna and its siter Eilean na Cloiche, so we headed out to them for elevenses or lunch.

We found a suitable spit linking the two parts of the island and sunbathed and ate. We then head north again to re-join the Lismore coast just south of the Achnacroish Pier. It turns out the old “big boat” pier is no longer used and there is a new ramp to allow the small roll on roll off ferry to visit. However, the morning service that day had been cancelled due to the fog and the Cal Mac timetable was out of sync; the waiting passengers were hoping that the boat would come, or they would be staying an extra night on the island. We did find water in the public convenience which looked fine although it said don’t drink on the taps, so those who needed it where then committed to boiling it first or using sterilising tablets. No one seemed to have any ill effects.

After this stop we paddle the next 6K or so of coastline observing the rock formations and wildlife. Just as we arrived at the northeast point of Lismore, we encountered the wake from one of the tourist boats or the passenger ferry to Port Appin. Timed to perfection just as most of group were passing over the shallow sand bar so they got splashed! (What Ian has missed from his account is that he noticed the ferry, sped up and didn’t get wet). As we rounded the point, we saw a touring Wayfarer dingy travelling in the opposite direction, this became a talking point for some who have also sailed and the ability to rig a tent over the boom and live aboard the dingy was discussed

It was then decision time again. Do we find a camp spot on the west side of Lismore or cross to the Kingairloch peninsula to find a campsite? We chose the latter as none of us had been over to that area before and we had now completed a full circum nav of Lismore. So, off we set for about 6k of open crossing the biggest of the trip; with slight wind against tide causing a beam swell. Which for most mean wet armpits by the end? As we approached the coast we started to try and identify potential camp sites. Finally deciding that Camas a Changinn was a possibility Ali and I landed to recce. It would have done but we were sure we would find better, so we started to move north exploring, Andy did a quick recce into Loch A Choire, again, nothing special so off around the headland to Camas Na Croise just inside Rubha nah-Airde Uinnsinn. This turn out to be a 5* site on the sand bar formed by the back of beach and the river off the hills behind. Although some houses were visible across bay Ali (our local expert) assured us that it was ok as they were far enough away and as we were on common grazing land it would be no issue. It turned out to be a perfect evening with no midges until bedtime and then only one or two starting to appear so at about 9:30 we called it a night and retired to our tents. End of another good day’s paddling.

Andy on the campsite recce and the view to sea.

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 4 – Eilan nan Caorach (Poo Island) to SW Lismore – Andy Garland

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 4 – Eilan nan Caorach (Poo Island) to SW Lismore – Andy Garland

We departed our island campsite around 9:30am and left our feathered friends (and appreciable amounts of avian poo) behind. The sea was calm, it was warm, and the scenery was fantastic. What more could you possibly want (apart from Second Breakfast)?

We glided across the water to the island of Lismore and followed its west coast southward. Our course took us around the tiny islands off the shore of Port Ramsay, and we took care not to disturb the attendant seals with young pups.

The coast continued to pass us by on our left-hand side…all was mellow, all was calm, we were at one with the world, but I needed Second Breakfast! Just before my stomach started digesting my head a superb breakfast-eating bay came into sight, next to the ruins of Castle Coeffin.

We relaxed in the sun and took in the serenity of it all. It was wonderfully peaceful. The only sounds that could be heard were me munching a tin of sardines, crisps, a mars bar and one of those cereal bars that are marketed to people who are too lazy to cook a proper breakfast. It would have been a wonderful spot to camp, but a notice from the landowners made it quite clear (in a very polite way) that they would much prefer people to camp on common land further to the north.

We continued our trip south until it was time for First Lunch. This was taken at the site of a disused limestone quarry in the bay at An Sailean. We explored the abandoned lime kilns and quarry buildings and imagined what it must have been like working here while it was operating in the 1920’s and 30’s.

It was soon time to move on. I smuggled a couple of cream cheese and chorizo wraps into my belly and paddled after the group towards the headland of Bernera Island. There then followed a crossing across Bernera Bay to the southern tip of Lismore – Eilean Musdile – which was marked clearly by its lighthouse. We were now pushing against a breeze, and we were looking forward to landing and camping. However, I made a scout of the island and found nothing but very tussocky tussock and very pointy rocks. This wasn’t what we had hoped for, but I then spied a bay to the south, on the ‘mainland’ of Lismore, that looked like it had a grassy area behind its beach of storm-piled cobbles. A short paddle and a closer inspection revealed a very agreeable spot to camp (although it would not be recommended if strong southerly winds were forecast). The tents were soon up and a quick Second Lunch was consumed, followed almost at once by First Dinner.

It was a beautiful spot, but I mused that the lighthouse was very close by and if the lighthouse had a foghorn it might get rather noisy if it were to become foggy during the night. Would a fog roll in? Read the next instalment to find out.

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 3 – Kerrara to Eilan nan Caorach (about 31Km) Sheena Davies

Day 3 Kerrara to Eilan nan Caorach ( about 31Km) Sheena Davies

On Tuesday the 29th of June we left our beautiful campsite on the west coast of Kerrera at 9.30am.

Our first stop was ‘Little Ganavan’ , a sandy beach just north of Oban where I immediately struggled out of my dry suit as it was so hot! It really was as hot as it looks in the photo.
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I was also relieved that we had successfully negotiated the shipping channel between the north of Kerrera and the mainland. We had our second breakfast here, or was it first lunch?

Our next stop was Dunstaffnage Marina where we filled all available containers with water from a tap on the pontoon. Unfortunately, a lady (trailing a little dog called Peanut), upset me by informing me that that water was contaminated. Roger sensibly pointed out that it would be more unhygienic to source it from the toilet cisterns as she had suggested! The marina staff, however, were lovely and more than happy for us to use their facilities.

We had a ‘lumpy’ but wonderful kayak from Dunstaffnage to the jutting out piece of land beyond Tralee bay then paddled all the way up the Lynn of Lorne to Eilean Nan Caorach where we settled for the evening and overnight.

Catriona answering her phone in the channel, Ian was getting closer.

We must have had a second lunch stop en route but I was too tired to remember it! Ian Bell kayaked from Port Appin this evening to join us and we had a lovely time amidst masses of squabbling seabirds and goose poop!!

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip June 2021 First day (The extra-long alternative) by Ali Watt

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip June 2021 First day (The extra-long alternative) by Ali Watt

Sheena and I had decided to travel down from Skye early on the morning of the first day of the trip.  Like all early morning starts, they sound ok in the planning, but much harder when the time comes and you have to leave your bed at 4am.  On the road for 5am and a clear road south got us to our departure point at Dunstaffnage Marina, outside Oban, just before 9am.

After just short of an hour’s packing, we had managed to cram in the kitchen sink and everything else required for a week’s self-supported paddling, and we were out of the gates and off.  Heading south Catriona thoughtfully contacted us by text to let us know that herself, Andy and Roger where on the water about the same time as us, paddling in the same direction as us, but a good 12km ahead.

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We had a great paddle past Oban bay, where we managed to avoid the fishing boats and Calmac ferries by sticking to the Kerrera shore.  Once into quieter waters we crossed to the mainland to stop for a second breakfast at Kerrera Slip.

Managing to curb the desire to eat like a whale and consume more than we’d packed for the day, we continued our journey south, trying to avoid seal pups and angry oyster catchers as we went.  The weather was good, just a slight head wind which I was very glad of as it slowed my companion’s pace to one I could enjoy.

The Island of Seil came into view, and we knew that we weren’t too far from the rest of the team, in fact we could almost smell them!  Onwards we went, into the deep south, rounding every headland expecting to see ‘three kayaks, one a big yellow one’, which was Catriona’s description of the Mersey flotilla we were vainly trying to chase down.

Rounding the point into Easdale village we were pleased to find the three kayaks, one a big yellow one, pulled up on the shore.

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I was very pleased that the team themselves had embarked on some good old fashioned urban foraging and were enjoying a pint in the sun, nice one!

After a wee while waiting for a favourable tide through Cuan sound the group, now five in number set off to find a campsite on the island of Luing.  After a short while a suitable spot was found, the boats hauled up and dinner prepared.  Not long after, Andy, Roger and Catriona came over with some bad news…we had to be on the water for 6am the next day to catch the tide under the ‘Bridge across the Atlantic’.  Yippee, another early start awaited us!

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LCC Canoe Polo Tournament – 17 July 2021

LCC Canoe Polo Tournament – 17 July 2021

We had three teams playing in this friendly tournament which included 3 people who had never played canoe polo before. The sun was shining, and the crowds were out cheering the teams on. I guess people had nothing to follow as we were between the Euros and the Olympics.

Congratulation’s to LCC A who just managed to beat LCC C in the “golden goal” extra time. All the games were amazingly close.

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Why not come down and give canoe polo a go – all equipment is available from the compound. We play as a mixture of teenagers and older, novice to very experienced.

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Swim self rescue training on the Dee

The plan had been to canoe the River Dee from Farndon to Chester. So, once the cars were sorted it was time to get going (NOTE – Sandy Lane car park has a max time limit of 4 hours and if you park outside of a bay then you get a ticket. But parking on the grass verge outside the car park is fine).

The weather was glorious and hot, very hot, but the trip was going to be very chilled. So with a very important briefing of “Put your sun cream on and drink lots of water”, we headed off.

9 canoes and 2 sea kayaks, or to count another way 14 people and 2 dogs, then began to gently paddle down stream. The dogs had the correct idea as they were sat  under a parasol in the boat.

                       

To be honest, on this trip I wasn’t expecting swimmers on such flat water. Suddenly I heard a splash and realised that Keith had gone overboard! (Oh no – time to get switched on). Suddenly, another splash and Nikki was in the water. As they climbed back into their respective boats the word was given, and the word was “Self rescue practice every 30 minutes”

   

That set the tone for a very relaxed, chilled paddle with great company.  The miles passed under the blazing sun, at times almost too hot, until all too soon we reached Sandy Lane and the awaiting ice cream van. Alas, just as we landed, the parking attendant turned up and the van had to leave (Booo)

A fab day in opens (and sea kayaks). Thanks all for coming.

Mike & Ruth

Covid 19 Guidance from 19th July 2021

Covid 19 Guidance from 19th July 2021 Liverpool Home page  LCC Home 
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Page last updated July 18, 2021 
  • Everyone still needs to pre-book the paddle through bookwhen or email to the coordinator to ensure group sizes are within British Canoeing’s guidance.
  • Face coverings are optional.
  • Social distancing should be observed where possible.   2m (one paddle length) is a long way!!!! and if you approach closer you should mitigate against the risks.
  • PLEASE RESPECT OTHER MEMBERS, WHO MAY WISH TO STILL PADDLE WITH THE CLUB BUT ALSO NEED OR WANT TO SOCIALLY DISTANCE.
  • We will continue with a named on-the-water leader for each group. This has greatly developed paddling within the club over the past 18 months.
  • We operate under British Canoeing recommended group sizes and ratios.  These are absolute maximums and if conditions / paddlers and/or leaders experience demand, groups sizes could and should be smaller than this.
    • Maximum for the docks (Sheltered water) is 1:8 (1:12 for tandem / crewed boats). 
    • Maximum for moderate water is 1:6
    • Maximum for advanced water is 1:4
  • Two groups can paddle near or next to one another on the water but social distancing should still be observed by all.

Every paddler needs to be pre-booked with the coordinator or through our Bookwhen.com booking site.

Paddles are notified through the club`s Google Group and also placed on the clubs calendar. All paddling takes place in separate, small groups with a nominated leader.

We follow all National and Local guidance and adhere to the British Canoeing guidelines for paddlesports.

Latest Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-levels-what-you-need-to-know

  • Please stay away if you have any symptoms or are self-isolating.
  • Always maintain social distancing (2m or a paddle length). Please leave the site asap after the paddle to reduce congestion.
  • Please use hand sanitiser before and after paddling.
  • If more than one group is at the compound, please quickly select your equipment and move it to your group number or away from the front of the compound.

Liverpool Canoe Club Advice on Covid 19

British Canoeing Structured and Organised Paddling Activity Plan 29th March 202 (Updated 14th May)
British Canoeing Guidance for Team Sports – Canoe Polo Plan 29th March 2021 (Teams of 6 can play against each other)

The club has agreed the following advice from 19th July 2021:

  • If you have any symptoms of Coronavirus, please stay at home and self-isolate.
  • All paddling will be in pre-booked groups following current BC guidelines on group size and ratios.  The absolute maximum for the docks is 1:8 (1:12 for tandem / crewed boats). Absolute maximum for moderate water is 1:6 and for advanced water is 1:4. Canoe Polo sessions will run under British Canoeing guidance notes and risk assessments.
  • All Club Paddles should be on the calendar and advertised to all in the club.  Please avoid forming clique groups during this time to ensure fair access for all.
  • Each group will have a named leader who will be responsible for organising the paddlers both on and off the water. Sheltered Water Leaders and Coaches
  • A Docks supervisor (key holder) can organise a Docks Session and ask for it to be put on the calendar. (Please email details to calendar@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk )  This is where they will open the compound at the start and end of the session and allow sheltered water leaders and their pre-booked groups to access the boats. Each leader is responsible for coordinating and supervising their group including asking if the docks supervisor has room for their paddle.  When advertising a paddle please give details of specific craft or purpose (eg Stand Up Paddle Board paddle for 6, Open Boats paddling or “General purpose easy paddle” etc)
  • All paddlers should use their own hand sanitiser before, during and after each paddle.
  • Members should be encouraged to select the correct equipment without trying multiple sets.
  • The club will supply antibacterial spray for use on the padlocks etc

Sheltered Water Leaders and coaches

Guidelines for club Paddles and Trips

Template for google group email advertising a club trip……

If you have an idea for a paddle, would like help or advice to organise it, please email website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk

All paddlers MUST be pre-booked with a leader and these details kept for a minimum of 21 days to aid test and trace.

FAQ – Club promoted trips.

How do I organise a club paddle:  Contact website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk to add the trip to the calendar.   Brief details are then sent around by google group email – Members are then free to reply confirming they would like to take part and give brief details of experience etc if not known to organiser. Coordinator then confirms place (or not) on the trip and time / meeting place etc

What if someone brings a friend without confirming with the organiser meaning the group is now larger than the maximum recommended by British Canoeing for the qualification and environment – both will be asked to go home and not paddle with the rest of the group.

What if I do not have my own equipment – Most dock paddles are advertised as allowing members to borrow club equipment.

Can the trip be A to B with a car shuttle – Social distancing guidelines say car sharing is allowed with mitigation from 17th May 2021
The government has issued advice if you need to car share……

What if a paddler drops out – this may result in others being turned away and should not happen – only reply to an email about a trip if you are 100% certain you can make the paddle

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Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 2

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021

I normally go kayaking in Scotland during early May or late September/October with the sole intention of avoiding the ‘Midges’.  Therefore, this June trip was to be a new experience for me and one I was both looking forward to and dreading in equal measure. Horror stories from my sons, ‘Midges’ walking across your eyeballs, kind of stuff, hadn’t helped. Now the date had arrived and time to find out for myself just how bad they really are.  

Monday 28th June. (NE Luing to Port Phadruig, Kerrera about 26Km) By Roger Colman

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Our pleasant little campsite was vacated in a well-ordered manner, breakfast taken by those requiring it and kayaks packed so we were on the water for 6:00am as planned.  

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The early start was a tidal requirement and allowed us to paddle up Seil Sound and under the bridge over the Atlantic. Once through the bridge it was back onto the mainland shore and a stop for second breakfast. (We learnt that Jon was not going to make the trip after all, but Ian was still scheduled to join us on Tuesday evening.)  

The early morning mist had burnt off and it was another really lovely day as the five of us paddled up to Port Lathaich and there crossed over to Kerrera.    On reaching the Islands shore we paddled down the east side, around the southern end, where Sheena was able to reminisce about family picnics as we passed Gylen Castle.      

Gylen Castle 

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We continued around the southern end of the island and up the west coast to Port Phadruig and a five-star wild campsite Catriona was aware of, courtesy of her sister. It was a stunning location. We arrived about midday and stayed put. After the early start this suited me fine. Ali and Sheena were equally happy after their additional early start and long day yesterday. However, they soon got their second wind and suggested a hike up one of the islands hills. Clearly somebody had to stay to ensure the safety of tents, equipment and kayaks so I nobly volunteered for this serious and responsible task. I am happy to report that while, Andy, Catriona, Ali and Sheena were climbing the heights I did not fall asleep and everything was as it should be upon their return. I did get through a fair few mugs of tea while they were gone enjoying the spectacular surroundings from my very comfortable camp chair.  

As day 2 was concluding it was apparent that we had been graced with extremely good weather and no midges.  It was as good as winning the Lottery!  

 

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Scotland Sea Kayak Trip June 2021 by Roger Colman

Scotland Sea Kayak Trip June 2021 by Roger Colman

I normally go kayaking in Scotland during early May or late September/October with the sole intention of avoiding the ‘Midges’.  Therefore, this June trip was to be a new experience for me and one I was both looking forward to and dreading in equal measure. Horror stories from my sons, ‘Midges’ walking across your eyeballs, kind of stuff, hadn’t helped. Now the date had arrived and time to find out for myself just how bad they really are.

Sunday 27th June. (Kerrera ferry to NE Luing about 25Km)

Catriona, Andy and I started out from the Oban / Kerrera Ferry slipway about 10am Sunday morning. Ally and Sheena were travelling from Skye and intending to join us later that day, while Jon hoped to be with us Monday and Ian Tuesday.

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Description automatically generated That is a lot easier and quicker to write than it was for Catriona to arrange. No doubt numerous plans A, B, C etc. were developed as individual circumstances changed through the week, prior to the trip. We are all very grateful for the time and effort it must have taken Catriona to accommodate everyone’s needs.

Our paddle was gentle and uneventful, in smooth seas and warm sunshine, with the added bonus of a sea otter sighting within the first 90 minutes.  Into Barnacarry Bay for elevenses, then on down the coast, a quick peek at the Bridge over the Atlantic (Clachan Bridge) through a number of small isles above Rubha Garbh Airde, to a lunch stop just below it.

After lunch we stayed close to the shore line, through the Sound of Insh and on to Easdale Harbour. Here Andy had a successful ‘urban foraging’ trip and gathered together some alcoholic beverages, a table and chairs. Excellent.

Andy – ‘Urban Foraging’, Easdale

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Catriona had been in regular contact with Ali and Sheena monitoring their progress and this was an appropriate meeting place. After saying hello to our new friends and goodbye to our beers it was a well-timed paddle through Cuan Sound and into a little bay on the Isle of Luing, opposite Torsa Island to our first wild campsite.

Tents up, supper on and time for Andy to explain to Ali and Sheena, who had been up early and travelled far, that it was a 4:30am start in the morning. (Possibly not what they wanted to hear!)